CNet's News.com had an article today which provided more information on Adobe's upcoming Apollo than I'd ever seen. Apollo has been billed as a new version of Macromedia's Central, but I think that description is only half right. Apollo could very well be the next big thing to happen to Rich Internet Applications.
The Universal Desktop
The technology and business implications of the next generation of software, rich Internet applications.
Graduate students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania choose their classes based on an auction system. Jason Lehman of the Student Services group at Wharton Computing recently converted the auction from a traditional web application to a full fledged Rich Internet Application. The new application is a perfect example of how focusing on the user experience and giving users a rich, interactive way to manipulate data can be very valuable. It's a glimpse into the future of how applications will be built.
Software as a service is going to become a more viable business model in the years to come. Rich Internet Applications are going to play a very large part in that revolution by focusing on offline/online content as well as more customizable applications.
Adobe has released the beta 3 version of their Flex 2 framework and it is available for download at labs.adobe.com
With WPF/WinFX, Microsoft has a very powerful way to deliver Rich Internet Applications. In the battle for the web office, Google seems to be stuck working within the web browser while Microsoft can deploy a powerful framework to a variety of PCs and devices which gives them a big edge in the race for software as a service.
With computers getting more powerful, we can finally use transparencies in our Rich Internet Applications. Microsoft's Avalaon has a very cool Aero Glass effect that Tim Sneath talks about in one of his posts. Flex 2 also allows transparencies, although in a different way than Avalon, and this is a screenshot comparison of two similar applications side by side. The url for this post is http://blogs.zdnet.com/Stewart/?p=15
The idea of a Microsoft/Yahoo buyout is interesting but extremly unlikely. However a partnership might provide a huge boost to the Rich Internet Application offerings for both companies.
Rich Internet Applications are the next step in web development. They're something beyond "web 2.0" and focus very heavily on the user experience as well as delivering content in a variety of ways. People want more and more control over their content and Rich Internet Applications are going to step up and provide that in new and exciting ways.
I was reading this article in BusinessWeek about the MIT Media Lab and it started me thinking about Flash and Rich Internet Applications in a different way. Flash has the potential to bring powerful, life-changing applications to all corners of the world.
Rich Internet Applications are increasingly making the operating system irrelevant. When the goal is as many eyeballs as possible, RIAs provide a development platform that the OS can't match.